Understanding foot anatomy will help you prevent and treat many sports
injuries. The basic anatomy, as well as the function of the foot is
The foot is made up of many different bones. The tibia and the fibula
are the lower leg bones that make up the ankle joint. They articulate,
or touch, with the talus.
The tibia is the weight
bearing bone of
the lower leg...also known as the "shin bone".
fibula is the
smaller low leg bone, on the outside of your leg. Both the tibia and
fibula extend down to the ankle, and their ends create the "ankle
bones" on the inside and outside of the ankle.
talus sits between the tibia and the fibula, and creates the ankle
"mortise". This joint acts like a hinge joint, allowing you to move
your foot up and down.
Moving further down the foot are the tarsals - five
bones that form the mid-section of your foot. Each of these bones is
connected to each other with small ligaments.
make up the midfoot, and part of the arch of the foot.
is not a
lot of movement between these bones, however, they do need to be able
to give and take as you bear weight on the leg.
an ankle or foot injury, this motion is sometimes compromised, and can
lead to loss of function.
Following the foot antomy towards the toes, next
comes the metatarsals, five bones that make up the end of your foot,
just before the toes. This is referred to as the forefoot.
metatarsals are the most commonly injured bones in the ankle. This area
of foot anatomy is especially important, as most fractures and stress fractures
>Last, but not least, the
final bones are the
phalanges - better known as the toes.
Each toe is
made up of three
bones, except for the big toe, which only has two.
injured in sports, however, these injuries are usually minor.
When looking at foot anatomy and the ligaments of the foot, the most
commonly injured and most important are the ligaments of the ankle.
These are injured with ankle sprains. For more about the ankle
ligaments, visit our webpage on
Other ligments in the foot include all of the
ligaments that connect the tarsal bones, as well as the ligaments and
joint capsules of the metatarsals and phalanges. Ligaments are
responsible for maintaining the arch of the foot, especially at the
tarsal bones in the midfoot.
The plantar fascia is not a ligament, but does help to maintain the
arch, and may become inflammed with plantar fasciitis
majority of the foot muscles are small, intrinsic muscles that run
along the underside of the foot.
They help to move
the toes, and to
maintain the arch of the foot. Most of the muscles in the foot that are
injured with sports originate from the lower leg and cross the ankle.
These include the gastroc and soleus, the
peroneals, the posterior
tibialis, anterior tibialis, the the toe flexors and extensors. Tendonitis
is the most common injury with these muscles.
Foot anatomy is comprised of the bones, ligaments, and muscles that
make up the foot. They all help to maintain the arch, to absorb stress
and shock, and to provide a means to propel the body through all kinds
of athletic activities. Understanding the anatomy can help with
prevention and treatment of sports injuries.
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